#031 | The Three Levels of Decision Making

One new actionable knowledge each week to help you take more actions and live more intentionally, all towards happiness in life ❤️

Hey friends,

This week’s is about decision making; how to make better decisions. I have made few “unpopular” / “risky” decisions in my life that, retrospectively, has been the key reasons why I was able to achieve my goals. The keyword here being "retrospectively”.

So, trying to gamify everything, I decided to explore how I can consciously make better decisions by externally studying how the top-level players does it and internally reflecting from my past experiences and try to understand what prompted me to made the decisions that I have made.

Today, I will share one principle that I have learned from the top-level players and one principle that I have extracted from the key decisions that I have made in my past experiences. As usual, the principles are simple but hard to execute.


Let’s start with the principle that I have extracted from my own experiences:

When it comes to making decisions, it’s important to consider two factors: a) Strong Why and b) Fun. Good decisions (Level 1 and 2) only consider the first factor. Great decisions (Level 3) focus on both factors.

A strong why has two levels to it:

  • Level 1 — A strong rationale reasons

  • Level 2 — A strong emotional connection

Level 1 is your typical pros and cons list; considering the opportunity costs, synchronisation, ROI, the principle of optionality etc…

Level 2 is where you need to deploy self-awareness. You need to understand how you are emotionally drawn in to the options that you are considering. Remember, we are not rational human beings but are driven by our emotions and feelings.

Level 3 is simple but almost always forgotten or neglected; and that is to have fun. You need to enjoy what you are doing. This is a big one for me. So far, I am always happy to sacrifice ROI / rational reasons in exchange for a higher fun factor.

The magical thing about this principle is that it is highly connected to your execution level. If you make level 1 decisions, you probably have low execution level cause you are either not emotionally connected to it or you get burnt out from not having fun. If you make level 2 or 3 decisions, your execution level can be very high from the start.

I picked up the habit of reading this year. I didn’t follow the popular 2 minutes habit rule; I read for 60 minutes in Q1 and 30 minutes + note-taking in Q2 and current quarter. Last year I read 4 books. This year, I have read 40+ books.

How? I made a level 3 decision.

As I always say, I am not productive, I am just having fun.

Let’s now dive into the principles that I have learned from top-level players.

It was really hard to pick just one principle cause there are so many good important principles.

But if I have to choose one… it would this…

Don’t give a fuck about what other people think or do — Gary Vee

I discovered Gary Vee in 2015 and he changed my life.

In 2018, I met him. I was lucky enough to draw the lottery to buy his limited-edition sneakers (100 pairs in London I think!), and be at the front of the line to meet him. I saw this as an opportunity to ask him any dying questions that I have.

Again, it was hard to filter it down to just one question…

But here’s the final question that I asked him:

How do you make decisions when you are the first person in your family to do many things and explore new things?

Here’s what he said (8:46 timestamp if the link doesn’t work):

LOOL I was so star struck that apart from asking the prepaid question with a bit of context, I only said about three things: “Okay”, “That’s it”, and “Great, thank you” 🙈

Sometimes, it’s hard for you to make decisions because of your surrounding environment and the culture in which you grew up it. If you want to achieve things that your family and other people haven’t achieve, you have to be prepare to make decisions that most probably go against the common belief system.

And your ability to do that relies on your internal mental fortitude, not just to take on external judgement but also internal judgement. Sometimes, we can be very hard on ourselves and exploring unchartered territories can be a very lonely road.

When you stop caring about what others think and can accept your own losses and see them as learning opportunities, then you can make decisions FAST, which means you can learn faster and over time, your speed will outpace your mistakes. As Gary V said:

The problem is that people are trying to be 3 and 0... 3 right decisions and NO wrong decisions. I’m trying to be 118 right to 92 wrong. Keep it moving, adjust as you go, and stop focusing on dumb shit!

🔥 Actionable Knowledge

The next time you are in a decision making situation, think about the three levels of decisions and evaluate which options would give you a higher level.

Alternatively, reflect on your past experiences where you were required to make key decisions. What level was that decision? and what was the outcome of the decision?

And remember: block out external negativities and internal fear and doubts when making decisions. Don’t let others set a limit on your potential and don’t let yourself talk your way out of making decisions.

I would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts by replying to this email 😊

Thanks for reading everyone. Have a good week ahead! 🎮

All the best,

Ryan O

Current Stats: 12.2% action rate <— Read 43 books | Taken actions on at least 5 books

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